Struggle and Purpose in Postwar Japanese Unionism

Struggle and Purpose in Postwar Japanese Unionism

(JRM 14)

Michael H. Gibbs

Publication date: 2000
ISBN-13 (print): 978-1-55729-066-3
ISBN-10 (print): 1-55729-066-0

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Status, purpose, and lineage are the themes of this study of the postwar Japanese labor movement. Between 1943 and 1984, Japan went from being a vast empire to a defeated, occupied, and outcast nation. Men and women from a much broader segment of society than ever before participated in the postwar struggle to define a new purpose for Japanese politics. This study looks at individual behavior motivated by this search for high purpose and examines cases differing by status, age, and experience.

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Title information

Status, purpose, and lineage are the themes of this study of the postwar Japanese labor movement. Between 1943 and 1984, Japan went from being a vast empire to a defeated, occupied, and outcast nation. Social transformation lowered the barriers of status and class, and economic restructuring reoriented industry from wartime to peaceful production. Unionists ensured their eligibility for participation in the national political discourse of the 1950s and 1960s by demonstrating their sense of high purpose in the debates of the late 1940s. Men and women from a much broader segment of society than ever before participated in the postwar struggle to define a new purpose for Japanese politics. This study looks at individual behavior motivated by this search for high purpose and examines a variety of cases, differing by status, age, and experience.

Pages: 322
Language: English
Publisher: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
OCLC: 42980222

Michael H. Gibbs

Michael H. Gibbs is associate professor of history at the University of Denver.

Education: Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley

Struggle and Purpose in Postwar Japanese Unionism (JRM 14)

Acknowledgments – vii

Introduction – ix
1. Old Purpose Frustrated and Old Loyalties Challenged, 1943–1947 – 1
     Rewards of Imperial Service – 1
     Sacrifices at the End of Empire – 9
     Soldiering on in the Wake of Defeat – 13
     Taking Charge – 19
     Restrictions on Loyal Action – 25
2. Purpose Redirected, 1945–1947 – 28
     Difficulties with Benevolence – 29
     Righteousness Refocused – 32
     Radical Purposes – 39
     Tug of War over Purpose – 48
     Further Radicalization of Purpose – 59
     Difficulties for Radicalism – 67
3. In Search of New Purpose, 1946–1949 – 72
     Loosed Cannon – 72
     Unionism Transformed – 79
     The Discourse of Democratization – 88
     Unionism Reaching Higher – 100
     Highest Purpose – 112
     Sights Lowered – 123
4. At Cross Purposes, 1950–1954 – 139
     Fragmentation on Purpose – 139
     Assertion of Superiority – 148
     Finding a Cause – 154
     Labor Agreements – 163
     Higher Purpose in Public Office – 168
     Opposition to Rationalization – 175
5. The Purpose of Unionism, 1955–1963 – 190
     Competing Lineages within the Labor Movement – 191
     Struggle and Its Consequences – 207
     Heroes of Industry – 213
     Finding Purpose in Struggle – 218
     Purpose of Lineage – 227
6. Struggle over History, 1964–1984 – 229
     Individual Purpose – 230
     Steel for the Nation – 241
     Alienation and Exploitation – 248
     Charges of Corruption – 259
     Traditions of Labor Militancy – 266
     Taking Labor Seriously – 272

Glossary 1: Individuals Discussed – 283
Glossary 2: Terms, Institutions, Organizations – 285
Bibliography – 310
Index – 319

JOURNAL REVIEWS

"Gibbs's analysis of labor relations is a welcome addition to studies of labor relations in Japan as well as comparative labor history….[He] pays attention to the sense of purpose held by union activists and managers, and examines how struggles  among actors with different senses of purpose influenced the development of labor relations in the steel firms. Another contribution of this book is that it gives a detailed account of two issues that have tended to be overlooked in previous studies of Japanese labor relations, especially in English language publications: the influence of wartime experience of workers on their subsequent commitment to union activities, and the active role of white-collar staff in the labor movement in the early postwar days." ~Akira Suzuki, Hosei University, in The Journal of Asian Studies (http://www.jstor.org/stable/2700063)